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How Facebook’s Newsfeed “Clickbait” Update Affects Your Content Strategy


Photo by TheNextWeb

Last week’s Facebook newsfeed changes took some by surprise. The social network announced they were changing how they ranked content to give less prominence to “clickbaiting” content in all users’ newsfeeds. This is part of a bigger effort to improve Facebook user engagement. In turn, publishers may need to change their social media tune to jump over this new hurdle to get their content seen by fans. Here are specific things that you’ll need to change in the way you post to Facebook.

Write Better Headlines in the Captions

Based on Facebook’s announcement, they are able to find what “clickbait” content looks like. If users click on content and quickly bounce, that’s an indication the content isn’t valuable. The time spent away from Facebook is one determinant of the content’s quality.

Since 80% of Facebook’s survey respondents said they rely on headlines––that is the copy that accompanies a post––to decide whether or not they’d engage with the post, your posts will need to have meatier, engagement-oriented content. Senseless-attention-grabbing headlines are a thing of the past. You’ll no longer be able to get away with posts like:

Instead, you’ll want headlines that are inviting and informative, giving your audience a good idea of what to expect when they click on it. Plenty of social publishers are doing a great job of posting engaging high quality content that can be great idea generators for you. Take for example:

This update sets a high standard for the quality of content interspersed across the network. You want your content to be quality; it’s what will bring the best type of engagement from your audience. It’s relationship-building.

Post Links in the Captions (Not Photos with Links)

The VentureBeat image above is a perfect example of how Facebook now wants you to promote your links. Back in 2011, Facebook’s EdgeRank gave favor to images over links, and many publishers opted to upload a catchy image and include a link within the caption of the image in order to get their content seen in their fans’ newsfeeds.

Though this was a good practice for many, it was quickly abused. Facebook also had supporting research showing users preferred to click on content that had a preview with more information on what they’ll be seeing.

So now’s the time to break the bad habit. Start posting links instead of uploading photos and including links within the caption. (Yes, this means you’re going back to how you used to post on Facebook three years ago.) By posting the link, that is copy/pasting the link into Facebook, your link will show a preview (like in the image below), and you can still edit the copy.

You’ll still want open graph tags in place so that images, titles and descriptions (i.e. all your SEO stuff) come up in your Facebook post. This is the easiest way to post your content, but Facebook also gives you the ability to upload a photo in case you don’t have an image in that page (see below).

Have you already changed your Facebook posting habits? Notice any change in engagement?